Question: Is the challenge of the Qur’an subjective?

Absolute truth

لا إله إلا الله
One of the most frequently asked questions about the challenge of the Qur’an is: Is such a challenge fair or is it subjective?

Anyone who knows language will know it follows rules. Since it follows rules there is a standard to judge by. So there is no subjectivity. Subjectivity is when there is no standard or rules to judge things by. The linguistics of before took great pains to document all rules of what is correct Arabic and what is not. What phrases are appropriate in certain situations and which are not.

’anta la takhdhiba’ (you do not lie)
‘la takhdhiba’ (you do not lie)
‘la takhdhiba anta’ (you do not lie)

[These phrases are examples mentioned by Imam Jurjani]

The above is just an example of how each sentence’s meanings are understood by concrete rules in Arabic. These rules are objective as they are standardized. Above we see three words arranged in different ways but having different meanings. This is according to Arabic syntax. These 3 sentences all indicate that ‘you don’t lie’ yet they have different meanings:

The first indicates two ideas and two negations: firstly that there is no lie that exists here and that the person is certainly not responsible for it.

The second indicates merely that the sentence is not true but does not indicate anything specifically other than that

The third doesn’t indicate there was no lying but merely that the person accused (‘you’) is not responsible for it.[1]

Another linguistic rule we will encounter later are: the rules of ellipsis (word-omission) that state the words can be omitted to shorten the clause if it is

– omission of the 1st of 2 correlatives of a genitive construction

– omission of a verb (only when 2 verbs are used)

– omission of the apodosis of a conditional sentence

– omission of a verb or noun where the context readily suggests it.

– omission of the predicate of an oath.

– omission of the particle ‘laa’

– omission of the subject to a verb or the correlative of a pronoun..

– omission of the preposition[1]

After this how can it be claimed that it is subjective?

[1] Taken from “Abdul qahir al Curcani’s Werk”, Weismeiler, p89-90 & “The Secrets & Subtleties of the Arabic Language”, Herbjorn Jenssen, p91